JOPLIN, Missouri - Two months ago Friday, the lives of the people of Joplin were changed forever. An EF-5 tornado ripped through the town taking 159 lives and destroying hundreds of homes.
Most Joplin residents say construction crews are a sight for sore eyes. The city just announced that it will be issuing building permits to most people in the damaged area.
Before the rebuilding can begin, what mother nature tore down must be removed.
That's where 12-year-old Nick Trauthwein comes in.
"I just kinda thought it was the right thing to do," said Nick.
He kicked around the idea of helping complete strangers along side his dad.
"He saw this on the news and was compelled to want to do this," said Nick's dad Tony Trauthwein.
They spent Friday in 100 degree temperatures on perhaps the most important father and son outing they'll ever have. "I was very shocked because you see all the pictures on the Internet and when you get here it is a lot different," said Nick.
For those seeing it for the first time it is hard to hear others say that the landscape actually looks good. The damage on day one looks much different on day 61.
"It is heart wrenching to say the least," said contractor Steve Howerton.
Construction crews are rebuilding homes and hoping folks will choose local companies to rebuild.
"We've been extremely busy lately," said Howerton.
It will take years to clean up, re-build and reboot.
"My dad and my mom have always taught me to think about other people," said Nick.
With volunteers like Nick, this part of the heartland plans to come back better than ever.
City leaders say that 70 percent of the debris has been cleaned up.